It’s been a quite year for new metal. Not nü-metal, but new metal, as in loud albums that came out in 2013 that burrow their way into your skull, slowly chipping at your head with a pick-axe until your brain and face turns into a pile of gooey nothingness. But in a good way. In honor of an excellent album that came out earlier this month, and got buried beneath Kanye’s heavy dirt and ego, here are five metal albums from 2013 worth checking out.
Sunbather by Deafheaven
One of the year’s best albums, for any genre, is also one of it’s most “controversial.” Sunbather is bruised and beautiful — George Clarke’s screeched voice are buried beneath layers of chaotic, resonant noise where it belongs, and it’s one of the most moving, adventurous, ambitious albums in recent memory, to the point that by the end of it, you’re exhausted (in a good way) — but when talking about the album, metal purists are throwing out the dreaded “h” word: “hipster,” as in, “I don’t listen to Sunbather; it’s only for hipsters. Now let me direct you to this copy of Deathgoreabortion’s Rape. It was recorded in an abandoned Chuck E. Cheese’s in southern Iceland.”
To respond bluntly: F*ck that. Listen to Sunbather.
Dawning by Mouth of the Architect
When I listen to Mouth of the Architect, I imagine one very pissed off mountain of a man getting stuck in mud outside of Mordor, where equally furious orcs are being born, and trying to break free not by moving, but by screaming until his voice gets raw and bloody and the noises emanating from his mouth sound like hell’s orchestra.
So, yeah, something like that.
Ultraviolet by Kylesa
Ultraviolet blurs the line between punk and metal in a way few other albums have, or even can. It’s Kylesa’s sixth release and arguably their best — every song goes on a separate murky, spacious journey than the one before it, and while the riffage is still intense and the (dual-headed) percussion dense, Ultraviolet is lushly and complexly orchestrated (metal), with tracks that clock in at pleasing, unpretentious running lengths (punk). My only criticism: its title. Melodic Gloom works so much better than Ultraviolet (note to self: name my band Melodic Gloom).
Meir by Kvelertak
The exhilarating, joyful music video above does more justice to Kvelertak than dumb words ever could.
Sky Burial by Inter Arma
Sky Burial is perhaps the most “wild” of any of the albums I’ve listed. Maybe that’s not the right word. Honestly, I’m not sure if there IS a word in the English language that roughly conveys “miserable metal that’s not just metal, with its traces of charred psychedelia and prog rock that slouch and roar in equal parts, courtesy of a production that’s underdone and imperfect, which suits the dirty-sounding on-point band perfectly.”
I bet there’s a German word for it.